Saarland: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  State of Germany  —


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 49°22′59″N 6°49′59″E / 49.38306°N 6.83306°E / 49.38306; 6.83306
Country Germany
Capital Saarbrücken
 - Minister-President Peter Müller (German politician) (CDU)
 - Governing parties CDU / FDP / Greens
 - Votes in Bundesrat 3 (of 69)
 - Total 2,568.65 km2 (991.8 sq mi)
Population (2007-09-30)[1]
 - Total 1,039,000
 Density 404.5/km2 (1,047.6/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-SL
GDP/ Nominal € 27 billion (2005)[citation needed]

Saarland (German pronunciation: [ˈzaːɐ̯lant]; French: Sarre, IPA: [saʁ]) is one of the 16 states of Germany. The capital is Saarbrücken. It has an area of 2570 km² and 1,045,000 inhabitants. In both area and population, it is the smallest of the German Flächenländer ("area states"), i.e., those that are not city-states (Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg). Its location on the border between France and Germany has given Saarland a unique history. It was the only state to join the Federal Republic of Germany between 1949 and the German reunification in 1990.



Catholic Church 64.1 %[2], Evangelical Church in Germany 19.6 %[3].

Saarland has the highest concentration of Roman Catholics of any German state, and is one of two states (the other being Bavaria) in which Catholics form an overall majority.


"Saarschleife" (Bend in the Saar) near Mettlach

The state borders France (département of Moselle, which forms part of the région of Lorraine) [4] to the south and west, Luxembourg to the west and Rheinland-Pfalz to the north and the east.

It is named after the Saar River, a tributary of the Moselle River (itself a tributary of the Rhine), which runs through the state from the south to the northwest. One third of the land area of the Saarland is covered by forest, one of the highest percentages in Germany. The state is generally hilly; the highest mountain is the Dollberg with a height of 695.4 m (about 2,280 feet).

Most inhabitants live in a city agglomeration on the French border, surrounding the capital of Saarbrücken.

See also List of places in Saarland.


Saarland is divided into 6 districts ("Landkreise" in German):

Saarland map.svg

  1. Merzig-Wadern
  2. Neunkirchen
  3. Saarbrücken
  4. Saarlouis
  5. Saarpfalz
  6. Sankt Wendel



Before World War I

Map of the Saar Region in the year 1793

At no time before World War I was there a single independent territory in the region of the Saarland. The region of the Saarland was settled by the Celtic tribes of Treveri and Mediomatrices. The most impressive relic of their time is the remains of a fortress of refuge at Otzenhausen in the north of the Saarland. In the first century BC, the Roman Empire made the region part of its province of Belgica. The Celtic population mixed with the Roman immigrants. The region gained wealth, which can still be seen in the remains of Roman villas and villages.

Roman rule ended in the 5th century, when the Franks conquered the territory. The region of the Saarland was divided into several small territories, some of which were ruled by sovereigns of adjoining regions. Over the years these territories gained a wide range of independence, threatened only by the French kings, who sought to incorporate all the territories on the western side of the river Rhine.

It was not the king of France but the armies of the French Revolution who terminated the independence of the states in the region of the Saarland. In 1792 they conquered the region and made it part of the French Republic. Most of the villages became part of the Département de la Sarre, with some villages in the east becoming part of the Département of Donnersberg. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the region was divided into three parts. Most of it became part of the Prussian Rhine Province. Another part, corresponding approximately to the Saarpfalz district, was allocated to the Kingdom of Bavaria. The smallest part, the village of Nohfelden, was ruled by the Duke of Oldenburg.

On July 31, 1870, the French Emperor Napoleon III ordered an invasion across the Saar River to seize Saarbrücken. The first shots of the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71 were fired on the heights of Spichern, south of Saarbrücken. After the war, the German Empire was founded and the Saar region became part of it.

Interwar history

In 1920 the Saargebiet was occupied by Britain and France under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. The occupied area also included portions of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate. In practice the region was administered by France. In 1920 this was formalized by a 15-year League of Nations mandate.

In 1933, a considerable number of communists and other political opponents of the Nazis fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany that remained under foreign occupation following the First World War. As a result, anti-Nazi groups agitated for the Saarland to remain under French administration. However, with most of the population being ethnically German and with strong local anti-French sentiments deeply entrenched, such views were considered suspect or even treasonable, and therefore found little support.

Germany stamp on the plebiscite

When the original 15 year term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935: 90.3% of those voting favored rejoining Germany.

Following the referendum Josef Bürckel (a Nazi) was appointed on 1 March 1935 as the German Reich's commissioner for reintegration (Reichskommissar für die Rückgliederung des Saarlandes). When the reincorporation was considered accomplished, his title was changed (after 17 June 1936) to Reichskommissar für das Saarland. A further change was made after 8 April 1940 to Reichskommissar für die Saarpfalz; finally, after 11 March 1941, he was made Reichsstatthalter in der "Westmark" (the region's new name, meaning "Western March or Border"), until 28 September 1944, when he was succeeded by Willi Stöhr (also a Nazi), until 21 March 1945.

History after World War II

After World War II, the Saarland came under French occupation and administration again, as the Saar Protectorate.

Under the Monnet Plan France attempted to gain economic control of the German industrial areas with large coal and mineral deposits that were not in Soviet hands - the Ruhr area and the Saar area. Attempts to gain control of or permanently internationalize the Ruhr area (see International Authority for the Ruhr ) were abandoned in 1951 with the German agreement to pool its coal and steel resources (see European Coal and Steel Community) in return for full political control of the Ruhr. The French attempt to gain economic control over the Saar was more successful at the time, with the final vestiges of French economic influence ending in 1981. Unlike the Soviet-controlled Poland in Upper Silesia, France did not annex the Saar and did not forcibly expel the local German population.

In his speech Restatement of Policy on Germany, made in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946, United States Secretary of State James F. Byrnes stated the U.S. motive in detaching the Saar from Germany: "The United States does not feel that it can deny to France, which has been invaded three times by Germany in 70 years, its claim to the Saar territory". (See also Morgenthau plan for U.S. and UK designs for the Saar area.)

In the years from 1945 to 1951 a policy of industrial disarmament was pursued in Germany by the Allies (see the industrial plans for Germany). As part of this policy, limits were placed on production levels, and industries in the Saar were dismantled just as in the Ruhr, although mostly in the period prior to its detachment (see also the 1949 letter from the UK Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin to the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, urging a reconsideration of the dismantling policy).

The Saar Protectorate was headed by a military governor from 30 August 1945: Gilbert Yves Édmond Grandval (b. 1904 - d. 1981), who remained on 1 January 1948 as High Commissioner, and January 1952 - June 1955 as the first of two French ambassadors, his successor being Eric de Carbonnel (b. 1910 - d. 1965) until 1956. Saarland, however, was allowed a regional administration very soon, consecutively headed by:

  • a President of the Government:
    • 31 July 1945 - 8 June 1946: Hans Neureuther, Non-party
  • a Chairman of the (until 15 December 1947, Provisional) Administration Commission:
    • 8 June 1946 - 20 December 1947: Erwin Müller (b. 1906 - d. 1968), Non-party
  • Minister-presidents (as in any Bundesland):
    • 20 December 1947 - 29 October 1955 Johannes Hoffmann (b. 1890 - d. 1967), CVP
    • 29 October 1955 - 10 January 1956 Heinrich Welsch (b. 1888 - d. 1976), Non-party
    • 10 January 1956 - 4 June 1957 Hubert Ney (b. 1892 - d. 1984), CDU

In 1954, France and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) developed a detailed plan called the Saarstatut to establish an independent Saarland. It was signed as an agreement between the two countries on October 23, 1954 as one of the Paris Pacts but a plebiscite held on October 23, 1955 rejected it by 67.7%.

On 27 October 1956 the Saar Treaty declared that Saarland should be allowed to join the Federal Republic of Germany, which it did on 1 January 1957. This was the last significant international border change in Europe until the fall of Communism.

The Saarland's reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany was sometimes referred to as the kleine Wiedervereinigung ("small reunification", in contrast with the post-Cold War reabsorption of the GDR). Even after reunification, the Saar franc remained as the territory's currency until West Germany's Deutsche Mark replaced it on 7 July 1959. The Saar Treaty established that French, not English as in the rest of West Germany, should remain the first foreign language taught in Saarland schools; this provision is still largely followed today, although it is no longer binding.

Since 1971, Saarland has been a member of SaarLorLux, a euroregion created from Saarland, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland Palatinate and Wallonia.


The Saar competed in the qualifying section of the 1954 football World Cup, but failed after coming second to West Germany but ahead of Norway. It also competed in the 1952 Summer Olympics (see Saar at the 1952 Summer Olympics).

From 1920 to 1935, and then from 1947 to 1959, the inhabitants used postage stamps issued specially for the territory; see postage stamps and postal history of the Saar for details.

In 1954, the Paris mint coined 10, 20, and 50 "franken" pieces. The following year a 100 franken was also minted. After reunification, Saarland switched to the West German mark.

Between 1950 and 1956, Saarland was a member of the Council of Europe.

One of Lufthansa's Boeing 747-400s (registered D-ABVS) is named Saarland.


Saarland has been governed by the rightist Christian Democratic Union since 1999. In the most recent elections in 2009, the CDU lost its absolute majority and is not able to even form government with the right of centre Liberals (FDP). The left of centre Social Democrats, the left-wing, post-communist Left Party, and the Greens won a majority of seats, however, on the 11 of October 2009, the Greens announced their intention to form a coalition with the CDU and the FDP. Such a coalition is known in Germany as the Jamaica coalition and is highly experimental. It could potentially shape future coalition governments on both a regional and national scale.[5]

Since Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany, the CDU has governed the state for 37 out of 51 years. The center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany ruled for 14 years (1985–1998), with Oskar Lafontaine serving as minister-president.

List of Minister-presidents of Saarland

Minister-presidents of Saarland
No. Name Born-Died Party affiliation Begin of Tenure End of Tenure
1 Johannes Hoffmann 1890–1967 CVP 1947 1955
2 Heinrich Welsch 1888–1976 None 1955 1956
3 Hubert Ney 1892–1984 CDU 1956 1957
4 Egon Reinert 1908–1959 CDU 1957 1959
5 Franz-Josef Röder 1909–1979 CDU 1959 1979
6 Werner Klumpp (acting) *1928 FDP 1979 1979
7 Werner Zeyer 1929–2000 CDU 1979 1985
8 Oskar Lafontaine *1943 SPD 1985 1998
9 Reinhard Klimmt *1942 SPD 1998 1999
10 Peter Müller *1955 CDU 1999 incumbent


Important income sources are automobile industry, steel industry, coal mining, ceramic industry and computer science and information systems industry.

In 2005 Saarland the highest economic growth in GDP among German states.


Local dialect

People in the Saarland speak Rhine Franconian (in the southeast, very similar to that dialect spoken in the western part of the Palatinate) and Moselle Franconian (in the northwest, very similar to that dialect spoken along the Moselle River and the cities of Trier or even in Luxembourg), dialects of German[6]. Outside of the Saarland, specifically the Rhine-Franconian variant spoken in the Landeshauptstadt Saarbrücken is generally considered to be the Saarland dialect. The two dialect regions are mainly separated by the "das/ dat" isogloss. In the northwestern portion of the state, including cities such as Saarlouis, standard German "das" is pronounced with a final "t" instead of an "s".

In general, both dialects are an integral part of the “Saarlandish” identity and thus a strong source of local patriotism.

Both dialects, even more so in their respective Saarland flavour, share many characteristic features, some of which will be explained below.

Women and girls are often referred to using the neuter grammatical gender, es, with the pronunciation being something like Ähs. Ähs hat mir's gesaat (it told me so, instead of she told me so; vs. High German: Sie hat es mir gesagt). This stems from the word Mädchen (girl) being neuter in German (es is correct in German when referring to words like Mädchen but would not be used by itself in reference to a woman).

The conjunctive in Rhine Franconian is normally composed with the words dääd (High German “tät” = “would do”) or gäng (“would go”) as auxiliary verbs: Isch dääd saan, dass... (“I would say that...”) instead of the High German Ich würde sagen, dass....

Declension is rather different:

  • The genitive case does not exist at all and is entirely replaced by constructs with the dative case.
  • In most instances, a word is not altered when cast into the dative case. Exceptions are mostly pronouns.
  • The same holds for the accusative case. Even more so, it is accepted practice to use the nominative case instead of the accusative.

Diphthongs are almost non-existent. The Saarlandish variant of a High-German word that contains a diphthong usually will have a long vowel in its place. Moreover, the vowels ö and ü do not exist in the dialect. They are generally replaced by e and i respectively.

Both the Rhein-Franconian and Mosel-Franconian dialects (and Luxemburgish) have merged the palatal fricative "ich" sound with the post-alveolar fricative (the sound in "schule") causing minimal pairs such as "Kirche" and "Kirsche" to be pronounced in the same way.[7]

French has had a considerable influence on the vocabulary, although the pronunciation of imported French words usually is quite different from their original. Popular examples comprise Trottwaa (from trottoir), Fissääl (from ficelle), and the imperative or greeting aalleh! (from allez!).

The English phrase My house is green is pronounced almost the same (in the Rhine Franconian variant): Mei Haus is grien. The main difference lies in the pronunciation of the r sound.

Regional beer brewer Karlsberg has taken advantage of the Saarlandish dialect to create clever advertising for its staple product, UrPils. Examples include a trio of men enjoying a beer, flanked by baby carriages, the slogan reading "Mutter schafft" (meaning "Mom's at work" in Saarlandish, but plays on the High German word "Mutterschaft", or "motherhood"); another depicts a trio of men at a bar, with one realizing his beer has been drunk by one of the others, the slogan reading "Kenner war's" (meaning "It was no one" [Keiner war es] in Saarlandish, but playing on the High German word "Kenner", or "connoisseur", translating to "It was a connoisseur"); a third shows an empty beer crate in the middle of outer space, the text reading "All" (meaning "empty" in Saarlandish, but playing on the same High German word meaning "outer space").


The French language has a long tradition and special standing in Saarland. This is not least due to the fact that France sought to incorporate the region into the French state shortly after World War II. Today, a large part of the population is able to speak French, and it is compulsory at many schools.[8] Saarbrücken is also home to the bilingual "Deutsch-Französisches Gymnasium" (German-French high school).[9]

See also

Sources and external links


  1. ^ "State population". Portal of the Federal Statistics Office Germany. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  2. ^ chiesa cattolica
  3. ^ EKD
  4. ^ - Saarland, Germany - Google Maps
  5. ^,1518,654502,00.html
  6. ^ Stedje, A. (2007). Deutsche Sprache gestern und heute. Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Fink.
  7. ^ Steitz, L. (1981). Grammatik der Saarbrücker Mundart. Saarbrücken: Saarbrucker Druckerei und Verlag GmbH.
  8. ^ Kernlehrpläne - Gesamtschule |
  9. ^

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Saarland [1] is a small federal state of Germany, located in the west of the country and forming part of the German border with France and Luxemburg.


There are 16 regions in Germany and Saarland is the smallest of them all. Saarland has a population of just over one million, so it isn't that big.

Get in

By plane

Airports close to or in Saarland include Ensheim (Saarbrücken), Zweibrücken, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport.


The people from Saarland love their food. Their food is a mixture of German and French flavours and styles.

  • "Dibbelabbes" (a potato soufflé with bacon)
  • "Kappes und Grumbeere" (white cabbage and potatoes)
  • "Gequellde" (potatoes cooked in their skin)
  • "Gefilde" (dumplings in a creamy bacon gravy)

This is the region’s favorite dish. "Lyoner" (a ring of pork sausage is eaten with) "Kerschdscher" (raw potato cubes fried in hot lard), "Grumbeersalat" (potato salad with mustard and a roll) and "Schwenkbraten" (marinated pork cutlets grilled).

They also love their delicacies such as cured veal cheeks with fried goose liver, coq au vin from the capon-chicken cooked in wine, and slices of turbot stuffed with shrimp.


There are many drink festivals around Saarland all year long. Merzig has fantastic cider and is honored at the Viez festival. An entire "wine summer" is dedicated to the grape. The wine of the Saar is made in the upper Moselle valley. The wine is made from Elbling grapes and grapes from Auxerrios and burgundy vines.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. One of the component states of Germany according to the current administrative division of the nation.


See also

German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de


Proper noun


  1. Saarland


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